HOLD THE DATE
17 - 20 August 2010
AFIO National Symposium
"Intelligence and National Security on the Great Lakes"
at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cleveland, OH
Co-Hosted with the AFIO Northern Ohio Chapter
Includes presentations by U.S. Coast Guard on Great Lakes security; Canadian counterparts to explain double-border issues;
Spies-in-Black-Ties Dinner and Cruise on Lake Erie
Online Reservations for event to be taken here, shortly.
To reserve rooms at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio now at the $89/nite special event rate, use the following link: http://tinyurl.com/37frwnl
Documents From Two Intelligence Symposia, Now Online...
Strategic Warning and the Role of Intelligence: Lessons Learned From The 1968 Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Czechoslovak crisis began in January 1968. The Czech communist leadership embarked on a program of dramatic liberalization of the political, economic, and social orders. These reforms triggered increasing Soviet concerns culminating in the invasion of 21 August 1968. This collection of documents pertains to these issues, the responses and analysis of this event in history. Follow this link to the documents.
Baptism By Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean WarThis collection includes more than 1,300 documents consisting of national estimates, intelligence memo, daily updates, and summaries of foreign media concerning developments on the Korean Peninsula during 1947 - 1954. The release of this collection, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of the start of the war, makes available to the public the largest collection of Agency documents released on this issue. The release of these documents is in conjunction with the conference, "New Documents and New Histories: Twenty-First Century Perspectives on the Korean War," co-hosted by the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and the CIA in Independence, Missouri. Follow this link to the documents.
WIN CREDITS FOR THIS ISSUE: The WIN editors thank the following special contributors to this issue: dh, pjk, fm, cjlc, th, and fwr.
They have contributed one or more stories used in this issue.For Additional Events two+ months or more....
view our online Calendar of Events
Section I - INTELLIGENCE HIGHLIGHTS
Report Endorses Pay for Performance for Intel Community. Performance-based pay for civilian intelligence employees has been endorsed by an independent review panel.
The Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) is a pay-for-performance system designed for civilian intelligence workers that is similar to the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).
The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) report says the system's principles are sound, but encourages corrections in implementation. NAPA prepared the 156-page report for Congress and the Defense department, which was ordered as a part of the 2010 Defense Reauthorization bill. The report examined the effectiveness of the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) itself, as well as the quality of program's implementation.
President and CEO of NAPA Jennifer Dorn says performance-based pay is an important step for improving the quality of intelligence. It encourages employees to try to "connect the dots" of intelligence in new and innovative ways, she says.
"To be able to reward and incentivize raising your hand to say 'I see it a little differently' is really important to the national security of the nation," Dorn says.
But NAPA did find several problems with DCIPS's implementation. Dorn says most of these could be traced to the rush to begin the program.
"Policies were not completely flushed out, the communication strategy was not fully developed, and therefore it led to many misperceptions about what [DCIPS] was and what is wasn't," Dorn says.
The report also found that better training for supervisors about the program, a stronger system of accountability, and clearer support from leadership were needed to increase employee trust in the system.
"Anytime you're doing anything new as it relates to how you reward employees, the stakes are so high, and the rumor mills are so strong," Dorn says.
The NAPA panel recommended that the performance-based pay be applied gradually in order to allow time for fixing the implementation problems. They advised creating a deadline of Nov. 1 for these goals. DoD will respond to the report by August. [Stevens/FederalNewsRadio/15June2010]
United States Looking to Deport 'Son of Hamas' Spy. U.S. authorities are seeking to deport Mosab Hassan Yousef, the "Green Prince," who reportedly worked as a Shin Bet security service agent from 1997-2007.
Yousef, who now lives in the United States, had unparalleled access to Hamas, which his father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, helped found and led in the West Bank. He first described his experiences to Haaretz earlier this year, and has since published a book, "Son of Hamas," on the subject.
Recently, however, the Department of Homeland Security asked a California court to approve his deportation, on the grounds that he "provided material support to a [Tier 1] terrorist organization" - namely, Hamas.
The request is based on quotes from Yousef's book, "Son of Hamas" - in which he described how he worked within Hamas to obtain information for the Shin Bet. Taken out of context, the quotes make it seem as if he worked for the group.
A San Diego immigration court is to hear the case on June 30. Yousef said he will appeal if it rules against him.
The deportation request is the Department of Homeland Security's response to Yousef's asylum application. Yousef, who converted to Christianity in 2005, wrote on his blog that he was stunned by the move.
"If Homeland Security cannot understand a simple situation like mine, how can they be trusted with bigger issues?" he demanded.
MK Einat Wilf (Labor ), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, recently began collecting MKs' signatures on a letter thanking Yousef for his contribution to Israel's security. [Issacharoff/Haaretz/15June2010]
DIA to Open New Counterintelligence Records Unit. The Defense Intelligence Agency wants to open a new repository for information about individuals and groups in what appears to be a successor to a controversial counterintelligence program that was disbanded in 2008.
The new Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Operation Records section will be housed in DIA's Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center, or DCHC, formed after the demise of the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, according to an announcement that appeared Tuesday in the Federal Register.
The "activity" was disbanded, but evidently not its records database, which seems to be headed to the new unit. One of the criticisms of CIFA was that it vacuumed up raw intelligence on legal protest groups and individuals from local police and military spies.
When the DCHC was launched in 2008, the Pentagon said "it shall NOT be designated as a law enforcement activity and shall not perform any law enforcement functions previously assigned to DoD CIFA."
Why the new depository would want such records while its parent agency no longer has a law enforcement function could not be learned. Not could it be learned whether the repository will include intelligence reports on protest groups gathered by its predecessor, CIFA.
"It's a little hard to tell what this is exactly, but we do know that DIA took over 'offensive counterintelligence' for the DoD once CIFA was abandoned," said Mike German, a former FBI Special Agent who is now policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. "It therefore makes sense that this new DIA data base would be collecting the same types of information that CIFA collected improperly, so Americans should be just as concerned."
The Defense Department has also started collecting Suspicious Activity Reports, German pointed out, "which they share with federal, state and local law enforcement through the FBI eGuardian system."
Tuesday's announcement in the Federal Register was vague about the kinds of intelligence the new records center will hold.
It said that it would hold information on "individuals involved in, or of interest to, DoD intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism and counter-narcotic operations or analytical projects as well as individuals involved in foreign intelligence and/or training activities."
The kinds of records it intends to hold, according to the Federal Register, include "Social Security Number (SSN), address, citizenship documentation, biometric data, passport number, vehicle identification number and vehicle/vessel license data."
Records would be gathered from "Federal, state, local, and tribal entities, foreign intelligence agencies, educational and research institutions, foreign governments and open source literature," the announcement says.
The new records center would have a broad domestic and homeland security mandate, judging from the announcement.
It would include "records relating to.... critical infrastructure protection, research and technology protection, threat analysis, counter-narcotics and risk assessments."
"Reports of investigation, collection, statements of individuals, affidavits, correspondence, and other documentation pertaining to investigative or analytical efforts by DoD and other U.S. government agencies to identify or counter foreign intelligence and terrorist threats to the DoD and the United States," it said, would also be gathered.
"The system of records includes ad hoc or temporary databases established to support particular investigations, task forces, or analytical projects."
DIA's chief spokesman Donald L. Black, reached late Tuesday afternoon, said he was unaware of the proposed new unit and not prepared to comment at this time.
Likewise, a spokeswoman at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which DIA notified about its proposal, was also unaware of the proposal and unable to comment offhand.
The new unit will open for business on July 15, "unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination," according t the Federal Register filing. [Stein/WashingtonPost/16June2010]
Former CIA Officer Suing Agency Over Lead Poisoning. Franklin Richards, a former CIA officer, says his current disabilities are a result of his works as a firearms expert for the CIA.
When Franklin A. Richards, a CIA officer, readily accepted assignment to Iraq, he knew he might have to take a bullet - some lead - for his country.
And he says he took plenty, but not because he was shot.
Richards, a firearms expert, was sent to Iraq in August 2003 to provide weapons training. He wasn't hit by a bullet during the three weeks he was there, but according to a lawsuit he has filed, he was seriously wounded by lead poisoning.
Now he can no longer work as an agent, or at much of anything else, he says. The former officer is suing the CIA because of a long list of ailments that he alleges grew from being ordered to labor in a toxic workplace that even the Army had placed off-limits.
Richards says he didn't enjoy taking action against the CIA, because he considers it part of his family and not just in the general workplace-camaraderie sort of way.
"I'm the product of two parents who worked at the agency," he said in a low, slow voice. "I knew I was going to work there since I was a kid. They met there. My wife and I met there."
But after a series of events, detailed in his complaint, Richards decided he had to try to hold the CIA accountable: A supervisor ordered him to provide training in an old, underground firing range with no ventilation, where everything was coated with toxic dust; then a CIA doctor, without taking a blood sample, declared that Richards did not have lead poisoning; and an agency lawyer rejected his claim for compensation.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by his lawyer, Daniel S. Ward, makes no mention of Iraq, referring instead to a "Middle Eastern country." And because of CIA restrictions, Ward would not let Richards, whose 42nd birthday is Wednesday, identify that country during interviews.
In its response to the $3 million suit, the Justice Department did not deny, or confirm, Richards's charges. It did argue that his complaint should be dismissed on several jurisdictional and procedural grounds.
Although Iraq is not mentioned in the lawsuit, other information, including Richards's CIA medal from the "Directorate of Operations Iraq Operations Group," given "In Appreciation of your efforts against the Iraqi Target 2003," and a document from the outside physician the CIA eventually sent him to, confirm his service there. The CIA would not comment on the lawsuit but did verify that his medal is from the agency.
His lawsuit outlines a series of situations that seemingly could have been easily avoided.
When Richards and another trainer arrived in Iraq, they went to the firing range arranged by the agency's chief of station, identified in the brief only as "Gordon P." "The range was filthy," alleges the complaint. "It was clear that millions of rounds of ammunition had been discharged in the room over the years and little or no time had been spent on range maintenance."
Richards and the other trainer felt ill after visiting the range. They found an outside location for training, but Gordon, according to Richards, insisted on using the underground site. Richards said his partner refused to use the indoor range, so Richards conducted sessions there while the other trainer held lessons outside.
Although Richards cleaned the range between the "live fire" sessions, even his students who were there for only one class were later found to have dangerously high levels of lead, the suit said.
After returning to the United States, Richards went to Brian H., a CIA physician, who said Richards had post-traumatic stress disorder and not lead poisoning. But at the insistence of Richards's supervisor at CIA headquarters, and after a delay of several weeks, Brian sent Richards to Margit L. Bleecker, director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Neurology in Baltimore. That was more than two months after his exposure.
That delay, along with Brian's misdiagnosis, caused Richards to miss the period when chelation therapy treatment for lead poisoning would have been useful, according to his lawsuit.
As a final insult, Richards said, he was medically retired on May 4, 2006, at grade GS-12, instead of GS-13, as he was promised in a letter from K.D. "Dusty" Foggo, then the agency's executive director. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Washington Post. Richards said he now gets $4,244 in monthly Federal Employment Compensation Act payments, "far below" what he was paid previously.
"We appreciate your dedication and service, and we understand that the tragic circumstances of your illness are a direct result of that dedication," Foggo wrote on Richards's last day.
Lead poisoning can cause a variety of problems, including personality changes, loss of concentration and memory, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, and even seizures and comas. The impact of lead on Richards was detailed in an April 23, 2010, report from Bleecker, also obtained by The Post. It lists Richards's "health related problems related to lead poisoning in Iraq," including clinical depression, memory impairment, peripheral neuropathy, migraines and erectile dysfunction.
That's the clinical description of what ails Richards. When he and his wife, April, speak about the impact of lead on their lives and on their 10-year-old son, it gets much more personal.
"If I sent Frank to the grocery store and I asked him to get bread, milk and cheese, Frank would probably come back with ice cream, chips and sodas," April said, describing his inability to carry out even routine duties. "Simple tasks, walking the dog, taking out the trash, it's just not something I can expect of him."
Richards appeared tense as the strain grew more evident in his wife's voice.
Before suffering lead poisoning, he said, "I felt like I was making a huge difference to the country, and now I feel like I can't even make a huge difference to my son." But "for anyone with a brain injury," he added, being around a child is the best rehabilitation therapy they can have.
His dealings with other family members can be hard for him. Now, Richards said, it can be weird to be around his brothers and sisters, with whom he often enjoyed lively discussions. "Fast responses are just nonexistent for me, so I'm left way behind in family conversations. . . . I can't even sit with them and talk anymore. It just doesn't work."
But, "most importantly," he added, "I'm not the guy my wife married. . . . She signed up for this guy I was, and now, I wouldn't want me. Who would want me?
"But she stays." [Davidson/WashingtonPost/15June2010]
FBI Found 14 Intel Leak Suspects in Past Five Years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified 14 suspected "leakers" of classified U.S. intelligence information during the past five years, according to newly disclosed statistics.
Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. intelligence agencies submitted 183 "referrals" to the Department of Justice reporting unauthorized disclosures of classified intelligence. Based on those referrals or on its own initiative, the FBI opened 26 leak investigations, and the investigations led to the identification of 14 suspects.
"While DOJ and the FBI receive numerous media leak referrals each year, the FBI opens only a limited number of investigations based on these referrals," the FBI explained in a written response to a question from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
"In most cases, the information included in the referral is not adequate to initiate an investigation. The most typical information gap is a failure to identify all those with authorized access to the information, which is the necessary starting point for any leak investigation. When this information is sufficient to open an investigation, the FBI has been able to identify suspects in approximately 50% of these cases over the past 5 years. Even when a suspect is identified, though, prosecution is extremely rare (none of the 14 suspects identified in the past 5 years has been prosecuted)," the FBI said.
The FBI report to Congress predated the indictment of suspected NSA leaker Thomas A. Drake, who was presumably one of the 14 suspects that the FBI identified. The case of Shamai Leibowitz, the FBI contract linguist who pled guilty to unauthorized disclosures in December 2009, is not reflected in the new report and may be outside the scope of intelligence agency leaks that were the subject of the congressional inquiry.
The FBI recommended that agencies continue to report unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the Department of Justice for possible criminal investigation, but it said they should also consider imposing their own administrative penalties. "Because indictments in media leak cases are so difficult to obtain, administrative action may be more suitable and may provide a better deterrent to leaks of classified information," the FBI said.
The previously unreported statistical information on unauthorized disclosures of classified intelligence information was transmitted to Congress on April 8, 2010 and was published this month in the record of a September 16, 2009 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
"As a matter of national security and employment discipline, it is important that leakers face repercussions for improper disclosure of classified information," Sen. Whitehouse said. This formulation notably implies that a leaker should be subject to punishment even if no damage to national security results from the unauthorized disclosure, so as to bolster an agency's authority over its employees.
The Obama Administration has adopted an increasingly hard line toward leaks of classified information with multiple prosecutions pending or underway, as noted recently in Politico (May 25) and the New York Times (June 11). A recent memorandum from the Director of National Intelligence will "streamline" the processing of leak investigations, Newsweek reported June 11. [SecrecyNews/20June2010]
Bulgarian, Romanian Sentenced for Espionage in Bucharest. A court in Bucharest on a Romanian and a Bulgarian to 12.5 years in prison each for passing classified information to Ukraine.
Floricel Achim and Petar Marinov Zikolov were arrested in March 2009 in Bucharest on charges of having delivered confidential Romanian military files to a country that is not a member of NATO.
According to the prosecution, between 2002 and 2008, Achim gave Zikolov "documents that might have threatened the security of Romania". Zikolov passed the documents to Ukrainian officials. Achim admitted to the charges saying he did it because he was in a grave financial situation. [SETimes/20June2010]
Pentagon Revives Spy Database. The Pentagon's spy unit has begun rebuilding a controversial database that was shut down three years ago after it was found to have been used to monitor US peace activists.
The database, named TALON, included scores of reports on nonviolent demonstrations and antiwar rallies. Targets included Quaker and church groups, organizers of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protests, and student activists mobilizing against the Iraq war.
The Defense Intelligence Agency has filed notice it wants to effectively revive TALON and rename it Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Operation Records, with the purpose of tracking terror threats. The Washington Post reports the new database will likely inherit TALON's records. [DemocracyNow/21June2010]
U.S., Turkey Deny Intelligence Rift. The U.S. and Turkey sought to squash speculation that the deaths of 12 Turkish soldiers at the hands of Kurdish rebels over the weekend were caused by Washington's withdrawal of intelligence support.
A renewed terrorist campaign by the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, has claimed the lives of more than 50 Turkish soldiers over the past two months, triggering conspiracy theories in some Turkish media which point the finger variously at Israel, "deep state" opponents to Turkey's Islamic leaning government within Turkey and the U.S.
Turkey's national security council Monday "discussed revising intelligence and the structure of personnel serving in [southeastern Turkey]," according to a statement from the office of President Abdullah Gül, who summoned and chaired the meeting. The statement also called on neighboring countries to do more to combat terrorism.
The scale of the attacks over the weekend, in which 11 soldiers died in an attack on a post along Turkey's border with Iraq and another was killed at a barracks, led to claims that the U.S. had withdrawn the intelligence support it offered in the past as a result of Turkey's opposition to sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council. Turkey responded to the attacks with strikes against suspected PKK bases inside northern Iraq on Saturday, triggering a complaint from Iraq's foreign ministry.
"There has been no change in the level of U.S.-Turkey intelligence sharing regarding the PKK in northern Iraq," U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey said in a statement Monday. "We stand ready to review urgently any new requests from the Turkish military or government regarding the PKK."
On Monday, Turkey's Chief of the General Staff Ilker Basbug also appeared to damp speculation that a U.S.-Turkish, or indeed a Turkish-Israeli rift, was to blame for the losses. He said in a speech that for the past 10 days, Turkey has been using Heron unmanned aerial vehicles recently delivered by Israel for surveillance in northern Iraq, according to Anadolu Ajansi, Turkey's state news agency. He said the UAVs were being used "in coordination with the United States."
According to Faik Bulut, a Kurdish former Palestinian Liberation Organization member who now writes on Turkish militant groups, the latest attacks were well signaled by PKK leaders and were also home-grown. He said he was concerned that PKK pledges to take the war to Turkish cities could lead to a significant escalation later this year if not checked.
The relative quiet of recent years on the PKK front came as Turkey's government was pledging a new "democratic opening" to provide Kurds with greater political and cultural rights. But the government met nationalist opposition and delivered little. Instead, some Kurds who returned to Turkey from northern Iraq through a kind of pilot amnesty program were put on trial; the Constitutional Court earlier this year shut down the main Kurdish political party in Turkey's parliament for having ties to the PKK. On Friday, 151 Kurds, among them a dozen mayors including the prominent mayor Dyarbakir in Easter Turkey, were charged with membership in the Kurdistan Associations Union, described by prosecutors as the PKK's urban wing.
Late last month, imprisoned PKK leader Abdulah Ocalan said he was withdrawing from efforts to bring the Turkish government and PKK together due to lack of progress, and was leaving decisions to commanders in the field and Kurdish politicians. Days later, a PKK spokesman announced the end of a year long cease-fire.
Ethnic Kurds make up about 15% of Turkey's population and are concentrated mainly in the South East. The PKK grew up in the 1970s with the goal of creating a Kurdish homeland that would include Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. In the brutal guerrilla war that followed, several tens of thousands of people - most of them ethnic Kurds - were killed. Since then, the PKK has moderated its demands to Kurdish language schooling and regional autonomy, among others. [Oz/WallStreetJournal/20June2010]
Federal Panel Blocks Reward in Peru Spy Capture. A federal appeals court has blocked a reward of more than $10 million for a Venezuelan man who helped Peru capture a notorious spymaster in a tantalizing case that the panel said "read like the latest spy thriller."
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 ruling Friday reversing a judge's decision that Jose Guevara should get the $5 million reward plus at least $5 million interest. The ruling concluded that Peru was shielded by U.S. laws that protect sovereign governments from lawsuits.
The panel's decision came more than nine years after Guevara cooperated with U.S. authorities and double-crossed Vladimiro Montesinos in a series of twists and turns that led to his capture.
Montesinos had power over the military and security forces in Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly using influence, bribery and blackmail to achieve his goals. After the autocratic 10-year reign of ex-President Alberto Fujimori ended in 2000, Montesinos fled to Venezuela and "then, it seemed, into thin air," the court said.
It turned out that Montesinos had undergone facial reconstructive surgery to conceal his identity and, with his face masked with bandages, he was dropped off at Guevara's house in Caracas, according to court documents. Guevara agreed to protect him, the court said, and agreed to make runs to the U.S. to deposit funds into Montesinos' accounts.
Peruvian authorities, meanwhile, launched a manhunt and in April 2001 offered a $5 million reward for his capture. But they had little luck until the FBI was tipped off in June 2001 that Guevara was coming to Miami to collect money from a bank.
FBI agents intercepted him and told him he could avoid prosecution and collect Peru's reward if he helped find Montesinos. Guevara dished out the details, revealing Montesinos' location and Caracas and arranging for Venezuelan forces to arrest him.
Montesinos was eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison in Peru for bribing lawmakers and businessmen and selling weapons to Colombian rebels.
But Peru refused to pay the reward to Guevara, who had since moved to Florida, and claimed that American law made it immune from any lawsuit. Guevara countered by filing a lawsuit contending that Peru had breached its contract and was fraudulently induced into helping authorities.
A federal judge sided with Guevara in September 2008, ruling that he had fulfilled his end of the bargain when he helped authorities apprehend Montesinos. But Peru's attorneys appealed the ruling and warned that allowing it to stand could complicate U.S. relations with the South American nation.
"The judgment represents a serious affront to Peruvian sovereignty and is precisely the type of ruling that a United States court should not make because it hamstrings the Executive Branch's ability to carry out its foreign-relations responsibilities," Nicholas Bagley, an attorney for Peru, argued in court papers.
The 11th Circuit disagreed, concluding that the case didn't meet the complicated threshold that allows foreign governments to face legal action in the U.S. "We agree with Peru that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and therefore reverse its judgment," the ruling said.
Guevara's attorneys, meanwhile, sought to depict the case as a "simple, garden variety breach of contract action." His attorney Michael Diaz Jr. said he was surprised by the 11th Circuit's ruling and worried that it could set a "dangerous precedent" that makes it harder for law enforcement to convince informants to cooperate.
"Welching by your neighbor to pay a reward for helping find his lost dog Fido is one thing," he said. "Welching by the government of Peru working with our FBI in an international manhunt with a reward posted on a borderless website is quite another." [Bluestein/SFExaminer/20June2010]
Radio Interception Program Began in 1924. United States Naval Intelligence OP-20-G, the Code and Signal Section of the Division of Naval Communications, began its radio interception program in 1924, focusing on Japanese transmissions.
It came to the fore of military intelligence after decoding a series of 14 Japanese messages on Dec. 6, 1941, coordinating the attack on Pearl Harbor. Bureaucratic delays and misfires kept the advance notice from reaching troops on the ground before the bombing had done its damage to the Navy fleet.
The Washington branch of OP-20-G used the ECM Mark II rotor machine, also known as SIGABA, to encipher and decipher radio transmissions. The teletype-style machine used a system that randomized the action of the rotors to form its codes, designed on the same principles as Britain's Enigma code machine. They also worked in conjunction with British intelligence to develop the Combined Cypher Machine (CCM), which employed by ECM Mark II and the British Typex Machine's technologies.
OP-20-G upgraded to a high-speed bombe machine in 1942 and 1943, with 16 drum-operated four-rotor Enigma style randomizers. A total of 121 Naval bombes were built; the last of them is on display at the U.S. National Cryptologic Museum.
Intelligence gleaned from encoded transmissions, relayed as quickly as possible to the front, played decisive roles in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, as well as the downing of a Japanese plane carrying Fleet Admiral Isuroku Yamamoto in 1943, among other Allied victories. [Stone/AikenStandard/18June2010]
Iran Summons British Ambassador Over Alleged Help for Rebel Group. Iran summoned the British ambassador to Tehran over London's alleged support for an Iranian rebel group which has had plans to carry out terrorist acts against the Islamic state, official news agency IRNA reported.
The summons came after some members of the People's Mujaheddin of Iran (PMOI) were arrested over the weekend for trying to carry out sabotage acts last Saturday on the first anniversary of the disputed presidential election.
Iran regards PMOI as a terrorist group after implicating it in the assassinations of several high-ranking Iranian officials, including the president and prime minister in 1980.
Britain and the US are often linked by the Iranian intelligence service to terrorist acts in Iran but so far no convincing documents have been presented and both countries have categorically denied Tehran's accusations. [MonstersAndCritics/16June2010]
Back-Office Upgrades Key To Intel Sharing. Despite public focus on collaboration and culture, intelligence IT execs highlight data center consolidation, identity, and access management efforts.
While collaboration tools and cultural barriers dominate intelligence information discussions, back office upgrades continue to play a major role, intelligence community IT leaders said this week at the InformationWeek Government IT Leadership Forum.
One of the major current pushes in the intelligence community is identity and access management. "It's the number one issue we're working on right now," said Casey Henson, CTO at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
At a high level, Henson said, the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and Defense Intelligence Agency now share a common identity and access management system, and are now working with the CIA on what Henson calls a "need-to-know service" to improve access controls.
She expects the number of agencies on the common identity and access management system to double within 12 to 18 months and triple over the subsequent 6 to 10 months.
On a smaller scale, DIA is working to make its employees' identities interoperable with the Department of Defense's unclassified, classified and top secret networks in order to eliminate duplicative efforts. The DIA is also working on a service-oriented architecture strategy.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is in the midst of a major data center consolidation effort and is beginning to move its sub-agencies into two new primary data centers. "The consolidated data centers will be the platform from which we launch some of our information-sharing services over time," said Margie Graves, DHS' deputy CIO. "We've also got to move from where the data is system-based and owned by a system owner to where data is an enterprise asset and we define the rules by the process writ large."
DHS has also been at the forefront of implementation of the National Information Exchange Model, a standard data model being used by, among others, immigration and law enforcement officers.
Of course, collaboration and other end-user software tools are key to better collaboration. Led by the NSA, the intelligence community is working to build small, widget-like apps that can be used across the community and Department of Defense, Henson said. [Hoover/InformationWeek/20June2010]
Section II - CONTEXT & PRECEDENCE
Honoring Fallen Spies. An honor guard lays a wreath at the memorial wall of stars for those killed serving their country.
In a single deadly moment last December, the lives of five CIA officers and two CIA contractors were gone. The flash of a suicide bomber had singlehandedly delivered the largest loss of life the agency had experienced since the 1983 Beirut Embassy bombing. It took time for the world to discover the identities of those killed on the remote base known as Khost in Afghanistan, mainly because of the clandestine nature of their work. So you might think its odd that a former high-ranking agency official would put a public face on their deaths. And you'd be right.
Having known and even trained some of the victims of that attack, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations Rob Richer decided he couldn't just sit back and grieve alone. These victims were not living the high life as the James Bond-type spies we've come to know. These were mothers, fathers, husbands, and lifelong friends. They were separated for their families for months and years at a time. They were more than names, they were passionate patriots making an incredible sacrifice, along with their families, because they believed they could make a difference when it came to capturing or killing al Qaeda leaders.
Jennifer Lynne Matthews was the base chief at Khost station and mother of three. Darren LaBonte and Harold Brown, Jr. were both fathers and husbands. Scott Michael Roberson was a husband and father to-be. Elizabeth Hanson was an agency analyst and a good friend to many. Jeremy Wise was a husband and stepfather, and Dane Clark Paresi was a father and husband. Wise and Paresi are regarded by the agency as officers, even though they worked for the private military contractor Xe, better known as Blackwater.
The families of spies are often left to grieve in silence. It can be a lonely and isolating experience, which is why the rather small intelligence community tends to band together to help their own. In 2001, a group of former agency officials decided to start contributing to a fund that would benefit the children of those who died. They wanted to help with the unfinished business of making sure the kids could afford a good education, and Richer decided this was the way for him to honor his fallen comrades.
Richer has made the unusual step of going public in their honor with a marathon bike ride, and his wife, Kim, a former Marine, is along for the ride. They've launched the website www.pedalingforpatriots.com, and they intend to raise as much money as they can as they bike across America "Khost" to coast.
It requires a grueling training schedule and has changed life in the Richer household. The couple wakes up between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. every morning, head to the kitchen to mix a concoction of energy juice, and then hit the open road one pedal at a time.
"We could be out as long as six or seven hours a day," says Richer, who is now retired from the agency and works as a private consultant.
With a training schedule like that, inevitably, other things get tossed to they wayside. "It's just looking at it as a job and saying, OK, I need to be gone this amount of time and so some things just have to go by the wayside. Like Housecleaning," jokes Kim Richer. She describes herself as non-athletic but says she knew once her husband started down this track, that she'd have to join him if she ever wanted to see him.
"Rob does crazy things all the time, like climb Kilimanjaro, so when he said he wanted to bike cross-country I knew how much training had to go into this, and I knew if I wanted to see him, I had to come along," says Kim Richer. Incidentally, the couple will be spending their 27th anniversary on the road together, somewhere along the 3,200 miles of America they plan to cover riding from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego, California, beginning on September 11.
Will it all be worth it? There was a good initial dose of donations in the early days, but that's trickled off a bit now. Richer believes the giving will shift gears, though, once the ride begins. "People really want to see us suffer before they give money," he jokes.
Richer and his wife are certainly paying a price with this effort, but in this case, it's still less of a price than that paid by the fallen they are setting out to honor. [CNN/14June2010]
NSA Lie Detectors No Sweat, Video Says. The National Security Agency wants job applicants to know that its polygraph test is nothing to sweat.
The eavesdropping and code-breaking organization has produced a 10-minute video designed to soothe applicants' anxiety over the notoriously grim experience.
"The Truth About the Polygraph" (publicly available on the Defense Security Service's training Web site), opens with various applicants, or actors playing them - it's not clear - describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.
Then a young woman who may or may not be a real polygrapher comes on the screen to say with convincing earnestness, "All the polygraph examiners really try to make a person feel more at ease..."
"What I do at the beginning is I tell them exactly what's going to happen..." she continues, leading a relaxed-looking applicant into her office.
Says another female polygrapher, "They will know ahead of time exactly what's going to happen. There will be no surprises."
All of which is quite at odds with the experience many test subjects - and polygraphers themselves - have related over the years
Indeed, critics of polygraphs call them "junk science" that can scar rejected job applicants for years.
"If this test had any validity," a senior former FBI crime laboratory official and physiologist, Drew C. Richardson, told a Senate panel in 1997, "which it does not, both my own experience and published scientific research has proven that anyone can be taught to beat this type of polygraph exam in a few minutes."
Even the harshest critics of polygraphs, however, agree that they work as interrogation aids. Just the appearance of the test can motivate a subject to confess.
But as a tool to screen out bad apples in a pool of applicants, they say, a polygraph is unreliable. Perversely, some relate, the more squeaky-clean the applicant, the higher likelihood of "failure." Practiced liars, conversely, breeze through questions about past drug use or other lifestyle issues that trip up others.
George Maschke, a former U.S. military counterterrorism translator who flunked an FBI polygraph and went on to help found an organization opposed to its use in employment screening, calls the NSA video "Orwellian."
"It's Orwellian, because the truth is the last thing the NSA wants you to know about the polygraph," he says.
Not to the test subjects portrayed in the NSA video, who all describe the experience as a walk in the park - "calm, quiet, comfortable," as one put it.
Chides another: "Don't always listen to the stories people tell about polygraphs." [WashingtonPost/14June2010]
Dozens of Mariel Migrants Picked Off As Possible Spies. As the flood of Mariel refugees hit Florida, a group of FBI, CIA and police officials, aided by Cuban exiles, scrambled to spot the spies, high-level defectors, criminals and the insane.
Officials involved in the little-known effort admit the screening process was very often chaotic - too many people arriving too quickly.
"It was like running a Burger King,'' said retired FBI agent George Kiszynski, who took part in the screenings.
Yet, during the boatlift 30 years ago and in the months that followed, the screeners and officials back at their headquarters developed a string of valuable intelligence leads.
Between 20 and 30 Mariel refugees were identified as suspected spies, said a former top U.S. counter-intelligence official who handled part of the issue. He declined to give further details, and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the issue.
Others who participated in the screening reported spotting two former Cuban army officers who claimed to have handled chemical weapons in Cuba, and one of Fidel Castro's translators.
And a retired U.S. army officer said interviews of arrivals who had served in the Cuban armed forces allowed the Pentagon to put together the first list of the island's military units and their locations.
Ironically, a half-dozen Cubans who volunteered to the FBI that they had been allowed to leave Mariel only if they promised to work for Havana intelligence once in Florida came under suspicion as possibly attempting to infiltrate the bureau, according to officials.
Not all those picked off by the screeners were VIPs. One Angolan who had been jailed in Havana was caught trying to pass as a Cuban, said Sergio Piñon, a retired Florida Department of Law Enforcement officer.
Although the four former screeners interviewed by El Nuevo Herald could not provide an overall description of the process, they recalled their work at two critical points - Key West and the reception center on the Miami-Dade Youth Fair grounds.
At the Youth Fair site, arrivals first went to a line of tables staffed by about 20 FBI and CIA agents as well as state, county and municipal police, said Piñon, while exile volunteers scanned the crowds for VIPs. Criminals and the mentally ill could be spotted by their short hair, tattoos and demeanor, he recalled. But the initial effort to spot other arrivals of interest amounted to simple bluffs.
"We had a stack of fake folders and we'd look at them like we knew everything about the person we were interviewing,'' Piñon said. "Since in Cuba the government knew everything, they really believed that we also knew everything.''
Single men, and anyone who acknowledged having worked for Cuba's political police, the State Security, came under special scrutiny. The files on any suspects were sent to the FBI's counter-intelligence unit in Miami, he added.
In Key West, no FBI or other agents were permanently assigned to the screening and most of the work was done by exile volunteers, said Arturo Cobo, a Bay of Pigs veteran who organized the volunteers.
"Our first duty was to give the arrivals food and water. The intelligence side took second place because we knew that when they went to other places there would be more in-depth screenings,'' said retired Army Col. Juan Armando Montes, who was based in Key West at the time.
Mariel arrivals, however, filled out questionnaires that asked in which Cuban armed forces unit they had served and where they had performed their mandatory military service. U.S. military intelligence later put together the first relatively extensive list of those units, Montes said.
Cobo recalled that he helped spot a former Cuban army lieutenant, Armando Romero Rivas, who acknowledged he had served in a battalion that handled Soviet-made chemical weapons warehoused in Cuba. Another Key West arrival, Walfrido Ulises Rosel, told a similar story at about the same time.
Montes said he interviewed Romero Rivas for three hours and believed he was truthful. He passed the Cuban to the FBI and never heard whether other debriefings determined if Romero was lying or telling the truth.
Montes recalled that another Key West arrival, Alarcón Román, acknowledged that he had been a translator for Fidel Castro during several trips to the Soviet Union. Román spoke five Slavic languages and was handed over to the FBI or CIA, Montes recalled.
The boatlift also led to the discovery of at least one Cuban agent already in Florida - a Key West businessman.
Cobo said a Keys resident who sailed to Cuba to pick up refugees reported on his return that he had spotted the businessman at the port of Mariel, packing a pistol and riding in a military truck. For the next two years, Cobo added, he kept an eye on the businessman.
By 1982, he had enough information to confront the man, who confessed that he and Cuban intelligence agents were involved in drug-running, and agreed to cooperate with the FBI, Cobo added. Piñon confirmed the businessman was a Cuban agent and had worked with the FBI.
The businessman also identified a Cuban spy working in maintenance at the Boca Chica Naval Air station near Key West but the man realized the FBI was on his tail and disappeared, Cobo said. There was no independent confirmation for that part of the tale.
There's no record that any of the suspected Cuban spies spotted as a result of the boatlift were prosecuted.
At the time, the FBI preferred to monitor rather than arrest low-ranking Cuban agents, knowing they would only have to spend time spotting their replacements.
Former FBI agent Kiszynski argued that in any case he believed that inserting spies into the Mariel exodus was "not a key a issue for Fidel Castro.''
At one point in 1978, Castro boasted to a visitor that he had 300 agents in South Florida alone.
"He has placed spies throughout South Florida and the U.S. since he started'' ruling Cuba in 1959, Kiszynski added. "He didn't need a Mariel boatlift.'' [Tomayo/MiamiHerald/13June2010]
Lynn Man, Former CIA Officer, Recalls Captivity in China. Richard Fecteau will turn 83 in August. He lives in an immaculately kept home tucked into a rocky ledge overlooking Flax Pond.
The man whose name graces the former Classical High School long ago consigned to the past the 19 years and 14 days he spent in a Chinese prison cell.
"I put it all out of mind. I don't even dream about it," he said.
But Fecteau has discussed his confinement several times this year with his former employers, the Central Intelligence Agency, and filmmakers commissioned by the agency to document Fecteau's experience.
On Nov. 29, 1952, above the foothills of the Changbai mountains, Fecteau and fellow CIA officer John Downey flew into Chinese air space in an unarmed C-47 Skytrain. They planned to swoop low over a rendezvous point marked with three small bonfires and use a tail hook to pick up a Chinese agent off the ground without landing. Downey was to reel in the agent with a winch aboard the plane.
As they descended, the sky suddenly exploded in bursts of gunfire. It was a Chinese ambush. The agent had betrayed the Americans, luring them by promising to provide important documents from a dissident leader.
After the C-47 slammed through a grove of trees, the cockpit burst into flames and skidded to a halt near the village of Sandao.
Downey and Fecteau, stunned and bruised but alive, were captured on the spot. The pilot and co-pilot were killed. One of their bodies was discovered and identified in 2004.
Downey and Fecteau were part of a secret CIA operation called "Third Force" tasked with sending non-communist Chinese agents into Manchuria to link up with disaffected communist generals.
The goal was to destabilize Communist leader Mao Zedong's new government and distract it from the Korean War, which Chinese forces had entered two years earlier.
The plan failed - badly.
"The CIA had been 'had,'" the late James Lilley, who helped train agent teams for insertion into China, wrote in his 2004 memoir, "China Hands." There were no dissident communist Chinese generals to be found and the Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong who sold the idea turned out to be swindlers, Lilley wrote.
Fecteau, a 25-year-old father of 2-year-old twins at the time of his capture, was initially held by the Chinese in Manchuria and then moved to the Chinese capital where he was confined in a five foot by eight foot stone-walled cell with a reinforced door and covered-over window.
His captors did not beat or physically torture him, but they mentally and emotionally tormented him.
He lived day in, day out with the lights always on and few, if any, sounds intruding into his cell. The Chinese would wait for Fecteau to fall asleep and then wake him for interrogation sessions that could last one, even two days without interruption.
"If you answered a question and they thought you were lying, they made you stand until you fell over," he said.
They warned him that as a civilian he was not protected by military rules governing prisoners, telling Fecteau: "We can do whatever we want."
When he answered back to them on one occasion they took him out of his cell and marched him in front of a jailer who warned him: "Before you die, you will live many lives."
"So much for any more brave talk out of me," Fecteau said.
The CIA and the two men's families initially received no information about their fates.
The families received letters in December 1953 saying they were "presumed dead."
The CIA concocted a cover story, telling the families that the officers and their pilots had gone missing on a routine commercial flight from Korea to Japan on Dec. 3, four days after the shootdown.
After China announced that Downey and Fecteau were being held as spies, Washington publicly denied it, claiming they were civilian employees of the Army.
Two years into his confinement, the Chinese put Fecteau on trial for "inciting armed riot, plotting assassination and fomenting insurrection."
The trial last an hour and a half and throughout its duration Fecteau sat manacled in a side room. His court-appointed attorney warned him, "Don't cause any trouble."
"I never had a chance to speak," Fecteau said.
The kangaroo court sentenced him to 20 years in confinement. For Fecteau, the sentence was the start of what he described as a contest of wills between him and captors who he rarely saw and who only addressed him by shouting at him.
"I didn't think I'd make it through the 20 (years). Determination to beat them got me through," he said.
He did push ups and other exercises every day to physically sustain him in the mental battle against his jailers. The Chinese allowed him to receive one letter a month from his mother. The letters were limited to two pages and Fecteau learned after his release that the letters he received were not censored, although ones he wrote home were reviewed and edited by the Chinese.
His captors eventually moved him to a 10 foot by 10 foot cell he shared with a Chinese prisoner. The prisoner's whispered exchanges quickly confirmed Fecteau's suspicions that his cell mate was a plant who was under orders to report any comments and confidences made by Fecteau to the prison administrators.
The cell mate became ill and was transferred from Fecteau's cell, only to be succeeded by another Chinese prisoner.
In his 19th year of captivity, in his mid-40s, Fecteau was taken from his cell into an office where uniformed Chinese officials told him he would be freed from prison the following day.
"You should be thankful to Chairman Mao," they told him.
"What about Downey?" asked Fecteau.
"He's none of your business," came his captors' reply.
The Chinese gave him new clothes and took Fecteau by train to the Chinese-Hong Kong border and released him two weeks before Christmas 1971 at the bridge joining the two countries. A police officer stopped him on the bridge's opposite side and asked, "Who are you?"
"I've been in prison since the Korean War," Fecteau said.
"That's a long time ago," replied the police officer, who escorted Fecteau to a Scottish army officer who handed Fecteau a beer and a cigarette.
"I got a little dizzy," he said, recalling his first tastes of freedom.
He was flown to Philadelphia and taken to a military hospital in Valley Forge where doctors examined him before clearing him for two months-worth of intelligence debriefing sessions. Fecteau's reunion with his first wife and the two young women he last saw as toddlers was only a brief holiday interlude between debriefings.
"It was hard for them and hard for me," he recalled.
His eventual return to Lynn placed him in the eye of a media hurricane that swirled around him, sweeping up his family and his Lynn friends and neighbors. He limited interviews to one reporter: The late William Pike who doggedly kept in touch with Fecteau's loved ones on behalf of the Item during Fecteau's captivity.
"My mother said, 'He's been very good to us.'"
Fecteau eventually returned to his alma mater, Boston University, as assistant athletic director and built a relationship with daughters Suzon and Sidnice that remains strong today.
Three years ago, the CIA declassified an internal history of Fecteau and Downey's mission and capture. Fecteau sat down in January with agency filmmakers to offer his recollections and the CIA premiered the documentary for employees on Tuesday at its Langley, Va. headquarters.
Downey and Fecteau attended the film screening and were flooded with applause and agency autograph seekers. [Jourgensen/ItemLive/21June2010]
NSA Gets Geeky After Dark, New Docs Show. It's an agency staffed by some of the government's top hackers, brainiest cryptographers, and sophisticated network defenders. But when employees at the NSA aren't playing Big Brother, pwning foreign networks, or coming to the aid of hacked companies, it turns out they're (surprise!) up to some exceptionally geeky business in their spare time.
Government Attic has the collection of documents, finally obtained two years after the organization filed a Freedom of Information Request, that detail the super-secret spy agency's various extracurricular activities. The 64-page release describes, mostly via newsletters and group announcements, the goings-on of 12 different "Learned Organizations" formed by NSA staff members.
Most of the clubs revolve around cryptoanalysis, communications analysis and language translation. Which is pretty much what employees at the NSA do from 9-to-5 - and, it seems, still shell out $15 in annual fees to do it on evenings and weekends, too.
But at least on evenings and weekends, snacks are involved. Members of the Crypto-Linguistics Association (CLA), a club that's devoted to "engag[ing] its members in language-related activities," also have a flair for fine global cuisine. The documents include a photo of the "CLA International Cookbook: A Collection of International Delights," which must boast some five-star recipes: it was classified as "Top Secret" until Government Attic's 2008 request.
In their "Tales from the KRYPT" newsletter, one member of the KRYPTOS Society ("established in 1981 to promote interest in cryptoanalysis") offers a summary of the group's annual awards luncheon, held at Ft. George's Club Meade, where prizes were doled out to winners of the annual "KRYPTOS Literature Contest" (top prize: "Fast Identification of Particular Features in a Specific Application Generated by a Particular Algorithm").
And then there's the Crypto-Mathematics Institute (CMI), which seems kinda like the more exclusive version of KRYPTOS. The club's manifesto includes six pages on entry application requirements and the complex process of electing the club's president, president-elect, and executive director. They've also got a serious thing for word puzzles, with a fun nine-page test (some of which, they confess, was cribbed from the "Kryptos Kristmas Kwiz") that includes such brain-busters as "Although it might 'pain' you to hear it, HEADACHE cannot follow. What word could follow and why?"
Uptight, sure, but CMI's not above a good party. The group's newsletter advertises a June tea social, a movie night, and hawks 50th Anniversary Commemorative Puzzle Books. ("It will take another fifty years for you to solve these puzzles. So get to it!") And like any club worth its membership dues, they've also got t-shirts. ("Short-sleeved and breezy cotton. Just right for the outdoor season. Be the envy of Princeton and La Jolla.")
For the NSA's artistic types, the Pen & Cursor Society (P&CS) sponsors "creativity seminars," where members are invited to "explore childhood memories," "break rules!" and "fertilize the garden in which you grow ideas." And ideas seem welcome among P&CS members - the group's newsletter includes a feisty editorial, "Combo-Words: When Will They End?" deriding terms like "Eurotrash, psychobabble [and] infotainment" that "permanently sully any words beginning with the same forms."
Alas, Wired nerds need not apply. The clubs are all restricted to NSA staffers, although the agency opted to protect the geeky parties, by omitting club member names and club websites throughout the documents. "Certain information... has been deleted from the enclosures," the NSA's letter to Government Attic reads. "[where] its disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security." [Drummond/Wired/19June2010]
Section III - COMMENTARY
Words of Concern About the DNI Job, From the Nominee, by Walter
Pincus. Want a clear-eyed view of the internal turf battles generated by the 2005 establishment of the Director of National Intelligence and his office?
There's none better than the example provided by an "Information Paper" sent to Congress as the work of Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who is also President Obama's choice to be the next DNI.
It's an interesting moment for Clapper: He is in the position of being asked to guide the very office that Congress was building up and that he was challenging in that April memo.
Designed to critique provisions of the fiscal 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill, which gave new authority to the director, the April 28 document outlined more than a dozen sections that it said "would expand DNI authorities over leadership and management of Defense Department's intelligence components," with potentially negative results. Those sections had the potential to "significantly impact the Secretary of Defense's statutory responsibility to exercise authority, direction and control" over those elements and how they "provide support to the warfighter," the document said.
For the Pentagon and members of the House Armed Services Committee, those words were a bugle call to arms for a bureaucratic fight.
The first item picked out in Clapper's memo was one that would "grant the DNI authority to direct" - "direct" is underlined in the document - "one of DOD's combat support agencies, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), in the conduct of a new mission." That new mission would have the NGA, which analyzes satellite and airborne imagery, also analyze ground-based camera and video materials, including clandestine photographs taken by or for the CIA and other U.S.-directed spies.
Clapper's memo says use of the word "direct" with regard to "any portion of the NGA mission to the DNI" undermines the defense secretary's management of NGA and "creates confusion and potential conflict in implementation of this new mission." The paper goes on to say the legislative language is not needed because the director already has authority "to task (not direct) NGA" under another section of the law. Words count in turf battles, and this is a prime example. When one "directs" something to be done, it is more important than when one "tasks" it to be done.
Recently, the White House told members of the Senate intelligence committee that the paper does not represent Clapper's personal view. Other complaints of his focus on several tasks given the director that "create a potential to conflict," or "overlap" or "interfere" with the defense secretary's authorities.
For example, one section of the legislation "directs the DNI, if he determines it necessary, to conduct an accountability review of an IC [intelligence community] element" on his own, or "if requested by an intelligence committee." Based on that review, the director would be authorized to "recommend corrective or punitive action." There is a "potential for conflict," Clapper's memo states, because the director's recommendation may challenge the defense secretary's authority over his own intelligence components.
Even the requirement that the director report to Congress on intelligence-community contractors and whether they are performing essential government functions presents a "potential for conflict," the memo asserts. It also balks at authority given the director to prohibit expenditure of more than $3 million on a "business system modernizations" without its certification, pointing out that by law the Defense Business Enterprise Architecture has its own authorities for approval of such spending.
The memo then takes issue with the DNI's inspector general being given authority to report on all intelligence agency "electric waste destruction practices" - otherwise known as wiping out computer files - asserting that could lead to another potential conflict with defense secretary management.
It was widely understood when Congress passed the legislation in 2004 that the director would be another bureaucratic layer atop existing agencies that, because of their calling, have a unique place in government. Rather than creating clear lines of authority, Congress, in the words of Obama, "burdened" the DNI with "an ambiguous statutory mandate." The role was made even more complex by "changing priorities of individual directors," Obama wrote in a letter sent to Capitol Hill last month.
"This has fueled 'turf wars' that waste valuable time, expertise, and energy, which should be directed toward meeting critical national security challenges," the president concluded.
At the June 5 Rose Garden announcement of Clapper's nomination, Obama said, "Our intelligence community needs to work as one, integrated team." The president called that the DNI's "core mission" and noted it would be a "tough task."
What present and retired senior intelligence officials are waiting to see is which Jim Clapper was standing beside Obama. Was it the author of the April 28 memo, fretting about authority given the DNI, or the 2004 retired lieutenant general and director of the National Geo-Spatial Agency, who told Congress that the proposed DNI should be given more power over his Pentagon agency, thereby angering his boss, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? [Pincus/WashingtonPost/15June2010]
White House Withholds Key Intelligence Report, by Max Fisher. The White House has withheld a key report, which maps out a strategy for fixing the troubled Director of National Intelligence, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The classified report, "Study of the Mission, Size, and Function of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," was completed by the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) at least as early as March, several weeks before President Obama asked DNI Dennis Blair to resign. The report came at an inopportune time for the White House, which has pursued a policy course counter to the report's advice.
Multiple sources within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence tell The Atlantic that the office, which employs about 1,500 people including the director himself, never received the report. The White House would not comment on how it was distributed, but Assistant Press Secretary Tommy Vietor said, "The study you reference was shared with DNI Blair, who provided us comments on the findings." However, the findings are only a brief summary of the report's unclassified sections; they are also freely available on Politico's website. The full report, which is classified, has not been shared.
Although it was established in April 2005 to head the U.S. intelligence community, the DNI has struggled because it has little power to assert its authority. The intelligence community, which includes such entrenched institutions as the CIA, has resisted the DNI's oversight. As a result, the DNI has been hampered by distracting turf wars and inter-agency disputes. The Obama administration entered office facing a dilemma: whether to reassert the DNI as the leader of the community or to scale the office down into a more modest role.
Blair, as well as key congressional leaders, have pushed for the DNI to take the leadership role. President Obama has publicly made a similar case, saying that the DNI should be "the leader of our intelligence community." The PIAB also takes this position, insisting the DNI be given "acknowledged" authority. Its findings state:
"The IC [intelligence community] cannot continue to be an amalgam of independent and specialized agencies, each operating according to its own premises and policies. The very intent of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) [which established the DNI] was to provide for the effective integration of the IC. This has not yet happened. For the IC to function effectively and deliver credible and timely intelligence, it needs an acknowledged leader. This should be the DNI."
However, there is a second strain of thought about the DNI, one that suggests it would function better as a coordinator and facilitator working on behalf of the intelligence agencies. In an April 28 memo, Under Secretary of Defense James Clapper, whom the White House has since nominated to become the next DNI, argued for this role. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this view is also often expressed by members of the intelligence community, who would rather have a DNI that works on their behalf as a coordinator agency than a DNI that works against them as an oversight agency.
Though Obama advocated for a strong DNI when announcing Clapper's nomination, in practice he has favored the second approach, forcing the DNI to relinquish key authorities over the CIA and de-emphasizing the DNI's oversight role. The White House has also declined to aid the DNI in its ongoing struggle with the Department of Defense. Both offices share oversight of multiple intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. Congress designed the DNI to supersede the Pentagon's authority of these agencies, but, lacking White House support, the DNI has been unable to complete tasks as simple as counting the number of foreign-language speakers in the agencies it supposedly oversees. Were Clapper to become the next DNI, he would probably be more willing to concede oversight authority to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is Clapper's current boss, and to the Pentagon, of which he is currently a high-ranking official.
Congress commissioned the PIAB report late last year as part of the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, requiring the board to evaluate the DNI and offer proposals for improving it. Though the White House is not required to share the report with DNI, it would be of obvious interest to the struggling office, and especially to Director Blair in the difficult weeks before he was asked to resign. The report was delivered on April 1, 2010, to the House and Senate intelligence committees, which oversee the DNI and must approve its new director. Since then, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein has increasingly called for the DNI to be strengthened and given a firmer leadership role. The Senate committee's ranking Republican, Kit Bond, has expressed similar concerns, lamenting that "the DNI does not have the statutory authority and he obviously doesn't have the support of the White House." Their hesitancy about approving Clapper and opposition to Clapper's argument for a downsized DNI have threatened to delay his confirmation.
Had the White House shared the report with the DNI, hundreds of intelligence officials who would have read it may have joined Feinstein in pushing for a strengthened DNI. Sharing the report would also have complicated any future efforts to disempower the office, as Clapper appears likely to do. But the report addresses much more than the question of whether to strengthen or reduce the DNI's oversight authority. It also gives advice on how to streamline the office, how to better coordinate among agencies, and how to improve the DNI's core mission of facilitating intelligence-sharing - failures at which may have contributed to allowing failed Christmas day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on his flight.
The DNI may in fact function better as a scaled-back coordinator agency rather than as the managerial oversight agency it was initially designed to be. However, at the moment, it lacks both a director and the PIAB report advising how to best do its job. Without those key tools, it is likely to struggle in whatever role it is assigned. [Max Fisher is an associate editor for the Atlantic Wire. He writes primarily about foreign affairs and national security. He is the former producer of the Atlantic's Food Channel and has also written for The New Republic and Conde Nast Traveler.] [Fisher/TheAtlantic/14June2010]
Call Him Crazy, But Bin Laden Bounty Hunter May Have Been Close, by Dexter
Filkins. By now, you've probably heard the news: a middle-aged construction worker from Colorado was arrested in a forest in northwest Pakistan, carrying a samurai sword and a pistol, looking for Osama bin Laden.
He didn't find him.
Before you chuckle, let me just say: Whatever else we might conclude about Gary Faulkner, our arrested American bounty hunter, we should give him this: He was looking in the right place.
Or at least the place where many intelligence analysts think he is: the mountainous high-altitude district of Chitral. For me, the mere mention of the place evokes the image of the Saudi terrorist.
Last December, early on a Sunday morning, I sat at a long table in the basement of the Pentagon talking with an American military officer about the situation in Afghanistan. As the meeting ended, another man approached, wearing plain clothes and a plainer face.
"Chitral," he said, half-smiling. "If you're looking for Osama, you might try Chitral."
He muttered something else, then walked away. The man didn't identify himself, but he didn't have to. He was almost certainly an intelligence analyst. If I had to guess, I'd say, given our location, that he worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Why Chitral? Well, for one thing, it's remote. Chitral is a mountainous district of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, in the far end of the country, abutting an Afghan region called Wakhan, notable because it's shaped like a panhandle. In other words, it's a long way from the Federal Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, where many other intelligence analysts believe Mr. bin Laden is probably hiding.
There is one other reason. As he walked away, my plain-faced Pentagon acquaintance said one other thing: "We have a hard time putting Predators up there." Apparently, the drones cannot stay up long, because their bases are so far away. In a funny kind of way, he was asking for help.
Until Mr. bin Laden was thought to be hiding there, Chitral was famous for only one thing: Every July, tourists from all over gather in a town called Shandur to watch a polo match between the Chitralis and a team from nearby Gilgit. They called it "the world's highest polo match." At 12,000 feet, it probably is.
Not many tourists go to Shandur or the rest of Chitral anymore, on account of the spread of Islamic militancy.
Back to Mr. Faulkner. Oddly enough, according to initial reports, it seems that he and his quarry have a striking number of details in common.
1. Both are very religious. (When he was caught, Mr. Faulkner was carrying a book of Christian phrases.)
2. Both were in the construction business.
3. Both have bad kidneys.
4. Both have beards. (Assuming Mr. bin Laden hasn't shaved his off.)
Meanwhile, just Monday, Mr. bin Laden put out yet another audio speech, this one on his imprisoned confederate, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. It's his 27th since 2001. [Filkins/NYTimes/15June2010]
Why We Lack Intelligence, by Haviland Smith. The director of National Intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, resigned from his post in late May. The miracle is first, that given the endemic structural and political issues in the intelligence community he accepted the job at all and, second, that he lasted as long as he did.
The intelligence structure of the United States is broken. It started with Bill Clinton's "peace dividend" after the fall of the Soviet Union, when many of the most substantively and linguistically talented CIA officers opted for early retirement simply because their ship was rudderless under a White House that should have been at the helm.
It was that rudderless CIA ship that limped into 9/11 and ultimately took the fall for the overall ineptitude of the entire intelligence community.
When the federal government is faced with a crisis and really doesn't know what to do, it reorganizes. It was inevitable that 9/11 would bring us a "Patriot Act," a piece of legislation that bears testimony to the fact that its authors and supporters had no idea what they were doing.
The Patriot Act inserted yet another layer of bureaucracy on top of an already dysfunctional, uncoordinated and stratified intelligence community. It created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence when it already had a position with essentially the same coordinating authorities and responsibilities, the director of Central Intelligence.
Because of the way Washington usually functions, a succession of DCIs either was not permitted by the White House to carry out their intelligence community oversight responsibilities, or felt insufficiently secure to try. None of the other myriad organizations in the intelligence community ever had any intention of allowing the DCI, or today's DNI, to oversee its operations. And it was often politically difficult for any given White House to establish or support the primacy of the DCI, as is clearly the case today with the DNI.
The problems that confront this country in the intelligence arena are many and complex. They start with the totally irrational expectations of the American people who, fed by Jason Bourne, 007 and "24," really think that they can be protected from evil-doers by the wondrous workings of the intelligence community.
In a world of increasingly self-motivated self-trained singleton terrorists, it is irrational to think that we will somehow escape this period unscathed. The underwear bomber and Times Square were lucky breaks for us, but that sort of thing will happen again and we won't be so lucky. What we need to avoid at all costs is the real WMD.
We need to keep terrorists from detonating a nuclear device, the only true WMD, on our soil. That is where we need to concentrate our real counterrorism operations - on the potential sources of such weapons and the networks that would be expected to move them should they become available. In relative terms, however unsettling, a car bomb in Manhattan is peanuts!
Intelligence collection and analysis are imperfect arts. Critical analysis is not possible without excellent collection because, by and large, only clandestine collection has the potential to obtain critical information on the capabilities and intentions of our enemies (strategic intelligence).
There has always been a conflict between the collection of tactical military intelligence and strategic intelligence, particularly in time of war. It is safe to conclude that, as in the case of Viet Nam, since our 2003 invasion of Iraq, CIA has been increasingly tasked with the collection of tactical military intelligence in support of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's hard to imagine that the hundreds of CIA officers who have probably been committed to the region for political reasons, have been working on terrorism and WMD. Certainly since 2006, terrorists have become increasingly scarce and it's clear that the WMD never have existed there.
Rivalries and jealousies exist throughout the IC. Sharing operational information is unusual and IC member management is interested in using the intelligence they gather or protect their relative positions in the IC. Thus the intelligence process, the primary purpose of which is to speak truth to power, always has been used by Washington's politically ambitious to forward their organizational interests and careers.
Washington could well do away entirely with the DNI structure. It could be replaced by returning the authorities, responsibilities and the DCI title to the CIA Director, where they resided from 1946 until 2001. If they had the political guts, which seems unlikely, they could put enough real teeth into the DCI's authorities to enable him to really oversee the IC and thus measurably strengthen it. [Haviland Smith is a retired CIA Station Chief who served in East and West Europe and the Middle East and as Chief of the Counterterrorism Staff.] [Smith/RutlandHerald/20June2010]
Section IV - BOOKS, OBITUARIES AND COMING EVENTS
Former Tiburon Man Recalls How, At Age 40, He Became A CIA Spy Behind the Iron Curtain. James Waste has written a new book 'Don't Shoot the Ice Cream Man.' The former Marinite and CIA spy writes about his adventures as a spy during the cold war.
In a generational dispute that was playing out all over the country in the 1960s and early '70s, James Waste, a conservative Bechtel Corp. executive living in Tiburon, argued over the Vietnam War with his two baby boomer sons, who were threatening to dodge the draft.
"The mentality of that generation was that big business, the CIA, the FBI and the government were all bad," Waste recalled. "They didn't want to participate in any of that. They were going to go to Canada rather than be drafted. It was all talk, I guess, but it offended me."
It offended him so much that he decided that if his sons wouldn't serve their country, he would. He'd always felt guilty about never having served in the military. A 1946 graduate of Tamalpais High School, he'd been too young for World War II, his pregnant wife disqualified him from fighting in Korea and he was too old for Vietnam. But he wasn't about to miss the Cold War. He was a 40-year-old father of five when he became a spy for the CIA.
"Because my father and brother had served in World War I and World War II, I had this guilt about not serving myself, and I couldn't believe my kids wouldn't serve when called upon," he explained. "I felt obligated to serve in some way. So when these two CIA guys in dark glasses showed up at my door, I said without hesitation that I would do whatever they wanted."
Over the course of the next three decades, Waste worked as a CIA spook behind the Iron Curtain and along the Silk Road of Central Asia. It was not easy duty for one of the agency's oldest operatives.
Under cover as a humanitarian aid worker with a phony company called Inerperspective Corp., which still appears as the heading on his stationery, he was reporting back to his handlers on the messy and dangerous collapse of the Soviet Union and the chaos that followed.
"I got caught up in civil strife and came very close to being killed many times," he said.
Now 81 and living in the Gold Country town of Dutch Flats, Waste tells his incredible story in his self-published memoir, "Don't Shoot the Ice Cream Man: A Cold War Spy in the New World Disorder"
Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz calls it "a pithy and readable account of some extraordinary experiences."
After 22 years with Bechtel, Waste suddenly found himself with a second career he couldn't tell anyone about. His Marin neighbors wondered what he did when he traveled overseas for six weeks at a time. He couldn't even share his secret with his wife. When she pressed him, he told her what he told everyone: that he was working for the U.S. State Department.
"I had to lie to everybody about what I was doing for years," he remembered. "I even had to lie to my wife. She had no idea how dangerous it was."
Waste titled his memoir after an incident in the Republic of Georgia, when a separatist group declared itself an independent state. "I was there monitoring who as doing what to who in this civil war that was going on," Waste explained.
One day he and his bodyguards were pinned down in a firefight between the warring factions, who stopped shooting long enough for everyone, including Waste, to buy some ice cream from a vendor on a bicycle.
"After we finished the ice cream, they started shooting at each other again," he recalled. "It pointed out to me how senseless the shooting was, how the Cold War was senseless."
After he retired from the CIA, Waste took a vacation cruise with is wife. On Veterans Day, during a party in the ship's lounge, the guests were asked to stand up and tell the group what war they had fought in. There were veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam.
"When it was my turn, I stood up and I said, 'My name is Jim Waste and I worked for the CIA in Central Asia, the former Soviet Union, for 24 years," he recalled. "I said my war was the Cold War.'
"At that moment I had an epiphany. I realized that I belong in this group. I had served my country in a war, but a different kind of war. It was like a cloud had lifted." [Liberatore/MarinIndependentJournal/14June2010]
GCHQ by Richard Aldrich, Securing the State by David Omand:
The British Security Services are Under Scrutiny, by Richard Norton-Taylor. In the opening sentence of his important though curiously subtitled book, the historian Richard Aldrich writes: "'GCHQ' is the last great British secret." Yet as he records, its cover was blown by Time Out in 1976, a disclosure that led to the celebrated ABC trial and failed prosecution of a soldier and two journalists who revealed the true purpose of GCHQ as a huge electronic eavesdropping centre linked to the US National Security Agency. It was officially "avowed" in 1982 when large amounts of spying equipment were found in the house of Geoffrey Prime, a former linguist at GCHQ, first arrested for paedophilia. Two years later, Margaret Thatcher ensured GCHQ hit the headlines by banning trade unions there.
Large road signs now direct you to GCHQ's "doughnut", its dramatic new headquarters on the outskirts of Cheltenham which is already proving too small for its 5,500-plus staff just seven years after it was completed. But it is true that behind the facade, GCHQ (Gloucestershire's biggest employer) remains extremely secretive compared even to MI5 and MI6, though it accounts for the bulk of the £2.4bn officially spent each year by Britain's three intelligence agencies.
GCHQ grew out of Bletchley Park, where a brilliant collection of chess players, linguists and mathematicians made a unique contribution to the second world war, notably to the battle of Britain and the battle of the Atlantic, by decoding Germany's Enigma machines. (It was in answer to their plea for more resources that Churchill famously ordered: "Action this day".)
Aldrich shows how GCHQ developed into a global intelligence-gathering agency of truly industrial proportions with resources that include the navy's submarines and HMS Endurance, the South Atlantic survey ship based in the Falklands. At the end of the second world war it had 48 listening posts around the world, many of them based in former British colonies. These made the UKUSA signals intelligence pact, the bedrock of the "special relationship" secretly agreed in 1946, so useful to Washington. The US was especially keen on GCHQ's station in Hong Kong, particularly during the Vietnam war. Equally useful to Washington was the station in Cyprus. The base became embroiled in a furious row between Henry Kissinger, then Nixon's national security adviser, and the British prime minister, Edward Heath. The irascible and arrogant Kissinger suspected Heath of valuing the UK's European partners more than the US and instructed the NSA and CIA to suspend intelligence cooperation with GCHQ and MI6 - a move, Aldrich comments, which "sent shock waves through the British establishment". He notes that the dispute is considered so sensitive that the Cabinet Office still refuses to declassify documents about it. Relations between London and Washington were not improved by Heath's decision to adopt a policy of strict neutrality during the 1973 Yom Kippur war and refusal to allow the US to use Britain's spy and air bases on Cyprus.
That war came as a surprise to GCHQ, as did the invasion of the Falklands and the fall of the Berlin wall. In common with other large intelligence bureaucracies, notably the CIA, it could not see the wood for the trees. As David Omand, a former GCHQ director, observes in his admirable book Securing the State, "What we prepare for, we deter. So what we actually experience by way of events is, alas, what we have not prepared for."
GCHQ, and indeed all the west's intelligence agencies, had it easy in the cold war and became complacent. Aldrich recounts how in 1984 GCHQ intercepted a message from the Libyan People's Bureau in London's St James's Square to Tripoli suggesting that they might fire on a planned demonstration by exiles. The message was not passed on to MI5 or the police until the day after the demo in which WPC Yvonne Fletcher was killed. On 10 September 2001, the NSA intercepted messages from Afghanistan, one of which said: "Tomorrow is zero hour." The messages were not translated until the day after the attacks.
Aldrich describes how GCHQ has intercepted the communications of Britain's allies, including France. Katharine Gun, a former GCHQ translator, blew the whistle by revealing an NSA request to GCHQ to bug the offices of neutrals and allies in the UN Security Council before the decision to invade Iraq. GCHQ now supplies timely intelligence to British troops on the battlefield. Its technology is also supplying MI5 and the police with "real time" intelligence on terror or crime suspects.
Omand makes the crucial point that the old distinction between foreign and domestic targets has gone and warns of the potential dangers of the enormous surveillance powers in the hands of GCHQ (which on at least one occasion has targeted journalists). GCHQ responds by saying that with the explosion of electronic communications, it cannot hope to listen to it all. "The frightening truth", Aldrich concludes, is that "no one is in control".
Omand, one of the wisest and calmest of Britain's securocrats, offers the new government good guidance: "Advocacy... is part of proper political debate. Advocacy on the other hand has no part in the intelligence process." (He told the Chilcot inquiry that MI6 had "over-promised and under-delivered" on Iraq.) But there is a price, he concludes, in terms of personal privacy for gathering pre-emptive intelligence. "That price," he says, "buys the security under whose wings the benefits of good government can be reaped." Some may say he is relying too much on the power, let alone the ethics and morality, of those responsible for controlling our security and intelligence agencies. [Norton-Taylor/Guardian/19June2010]
CIA Papers: US Was Caught Off-Guard in Korean War. The CIA released a massive amount of documents dealing with the Korean War, some of which point to the young agency's failure in the late 1940s to understand crucial events on the Korean peninsula in the run-up to the conflict.
One CIA analysis said "American military and civilian leaders were caught by surprise" when North Korean troops moved south across the 38th Parallel in June 1950.
"Only the intercession of poorly trained and equipped US garrison troops from Japan managed to halt the North Korean advance at a high price in American dead and wounded," the report said.
That document, "Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea, 1950," also describes how U.S. military and civilian leaders were caught off-guard four months later when the Chinese "intervened in massive numbers as American and UN forces pushed the North Koreans back."
The release of the 1,300 CIA documents includes 900 papers that had either not been made public before or now contained new information. The CIA release coincides with the 60th anniversary this month of the Korean War's start.
The CIA documents were released on a CD-ROM distributed at the Truman library to participants at a two-day conference on the Korean War. The documents were also to be made available on the CIA's website.
The announcement of the papers also coincides with the release of hundreds of additional documents from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington and the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.
The Truman library documents, which included audio clips of President Truman and correspondence from then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson, were being made available at the library, though some may eventually be released online, said museum director Michael Devine. The Wilson center's documents are on its website.
The CIA documents include intelligence reports, correspondence and National Intelligence Estimates, and foreign media accounts of activity in the region.
Peter A. Clement, CIA's deputy director of Intelligence for Analytic Programs, said the documents showed the CIA was "not very well-organized" at the time.
"They didn't call the invasion," he said. "It showed very clearly that we didn't put the signs all together."
Clement said the documents illustrate how the agency then relied on "a small crew of people who looked over the entire world," as opposed to current iterations involving separate staffs each assigned to a specific region.
Some parallels remain, however, between the CIA in its early years and the agency today, which is still "doing some tea leaf reading" but also has the help of more sophisticated tools.
"Intelligence-wise, we have come far," Clement said. "But at its core, the (job) of understanding leaders' decisions ... is still a challenge."
James F. Person, program associate for the Woodrow Wilson center, said the documents his center had collected from 1955 to 1984 depict the "rocky relationship" between North Korea and China that continues today.
"We continue to get this wrong today, the North Koreans and the Chinese walking in lock step," Person said. "The North Koreans can't stand the Chinese. ... It's going to go on and on until we sit down and talk with them."
Clayton Laurie, a CIA staff historian, said the "breadth" of the documents release indicates the Truman administration's interest in the region.
"Even though this is not a primary area of interest for the Truman administration, they're still reporting on this area," he said.
Michael Pearlman, a former professor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kan., and a conference participant, said he had hoped the release would include information on the circumstances of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's firing in 1951. But from what he could tell, the documents had no such detail.
"It's more than disappointing," he said. "It's a tragedy."
Paul Edwards, founder of the Center for the Study of the Korean War at Graceland University in Independence, Mo., said before he had seen the documents that he hoped to find information about President Dwight Eisenhower's efforts to end the war.
"I'll be terribly surprised if there's anything too surprising" in the papers, he said. [AP/19June2010]
Access to all these released documents are at this link.
William A. ('Bill') Christison (1928-2010). William A. ("Bill") Christison, a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who became a supporter of the 9/11 Truth Movement, died June 13, 2010, due to a rapidly advancing neurological disease, which he had contracted three months earlier. He leaves behind his wife, Kathleen McGrath Christison (who had also been a CIA analyst), two daughters (Lynda Carlson and Judith Wooten), and a son (Eric). He had been preceded in death by two other sons (Robert and Thomas). The memorial service was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Friday, June 18.
Born in Boston in 1928, Christison graduated from Princeton in 1950 and immediately joined the CIA to begin what would become a distinguished 28-year career. Starting out as an analyst on Soviet affairs, he worked in the 1960s on the problem of global nuclear proliferation, with special emphases on France, Israel, India, and Pakistan. In the 1970s, he became the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. (He and Kathleen met while they were both working in Saigon.) He finished his career as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis, supervising over 200 analysts covering, between themselves, every region of the world.
In 1979, he and his wife retired from the CIA and moved to Sante Fe, where he started becoming more critical of US foreign policy, especially when he saw that the fall of the Soviet Union, which by ending the Cold War was supposed to bring a "peace dividend," did no such thing, but instead prompted the United States to advance its imperial interests.
Becoming especially critical of US policy with regard to Israel and the Middle East, he (along with his wife) began writing articles for Counterpunch. Some of Christison's most important work, Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn told the Santa Fe New Mexican (Steve Terrell, "Former CIA Agent Bill Christison Advocated for Palestinians," The Santa Fe New Mexican, June 15, 2010), came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a March 2002 Counterpunch article, Christison wrote:
"My number one root cause (of terrorism) is the support by the U.S. over recent years for the policies of Israel with respect to the Palestinians, and the belief among Arabs and Muslims that the United States is as much to blame as Israel itself for the continuing, almost 35-year-long Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
At that time, Christison accepted the idea that the 9/11 attacks were "blowback" for US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East - a view that was controversial enough. But he later came to accept an even more controversial view, which he articulated in an article entitled "Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11," which he posted August 14, 2006, on the Dissident Voice website (Bill Christison, "Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11", Dissident Voice, August 14, 2006), and in which he wrote:
"Why is it important that we not let the so-called conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 be drowned out? After spending the better part of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism, I have devoted serious time to actually studying them in recent months, and have also carefully watched several videos that are available on the subject. I have come to believe that significant parts of the 9/11 theories are true, and that therefore significant parts of the 'official story' put out by the U.S. government and the 9/11 Commission are false. I now think there is persuasive evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe."
Then, after listing nine judgments that had led him to this conclusion - one of which was that the "North and South Towers of the World Trade Center almost certainly did not collapse and fall to earth because hijacked aircraft hit them" - he added:
"If [these] judgments... are correct, they... strongly suggest that some unnamed persons or groups either inside or with ties to the government were actively creating a 'Pearl Harbor' event, most likely to gain public support for the aggressive foreign policies that followed - policies that would, first, 'transform' the entire Middle East, and second, expand U.S. global domination."
Moreover, contrary to the view that any attempt to bring this issue into political debates would be politically suicidal, Christison suggested that "the untrue stories peddled by The 9/11 Commission Report are clearly susceptible of being turned into major political issues." He based this judgment partly on two polls: The Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll of July 2006 - which found that "more than a third [36 percent] of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them, so that the United States could go to war in the Middle East" - and the Zogby poll of May 2006 - which found that 42 percent of Americans believed there had indeed been a cover-up of the true events of 9/11 (with an additional 10 percent "unsure"). This Zogby poll, Christison said, "suggested even more strongly that the issue could become a 'big one' if aggressively publicized."
Seeing these polls as implying the existence of "considerable support for making a major political issue of the subject," he suggested that we "work as hard as is humanly possible to defeat..... any candidate who refuses to support a no-holds-barred investigation of 9/11 by the Congress or a high-level international court. No more evidence than is now available is needed in order to begin this process."
Christison argued that an international trial, resulting in the conviction and punishment of the criminals responsible for 9/11, would be of great benefit: "Such a trial, accompanied by actual change in U.S. policies, would show that some people on this globe are at least trying to move closer to more just and decent behavior in human relationships around the world."
Contrary to those members of the left who regarded the 9/11 Truth Movement as a distraction from more important issues, Christison wrote:
"A manageable volume of carefully collected and analyzed evidence is already at hand.. that elements within the Bush administration, as well as possibly other groups foreign or domestic, were involved in a massive fraud against the American people, a fraud that has led to many thousands of deaths. This charge of fraud, if proven, involves a much greater crime against the American people and people of the world than any other charges of fraud connected to the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It is a charge that we should not sweep under the rug because what is happening in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, and Iran seems more pressing and overwhelming. It is a charge that is more important because it is related to all of the areas just mentioned - after all, the events of 9/11 have been used by the administration to justify every single aspect of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East since September 11. It is a charge that is more important also because it affects the very core of our entire political system. If proven, it is a conspiracy, so far successful, not only against the people of the United States, but against the entire world."
Explaining in an email letter to friends, the same day the article was posted (August 14, 2006), why he had written it, Christison said:
"I spent the first four and a half years since September 11 utterly unwilling to consider seriously the conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks of that day... [I]n the last half year and after considerable agony, I've changed my mind. The subject is a difficult one, and I fully recognize that many of you will feel that I've made a monstrous mistake. But I can live with such criticism, and will continue pressing to force a new and independent high level investigation of the events of 9/11. The only real investigation to date, that of the 9/11 Commission, was a joke. We can do better."
In March 2009, when Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth was formed, Bill Christison was the first person to accept the invitation to join.
He in 2009 published Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation, which he co-authored with his wife, and which earned high praise from Ramzy Baroud, John Pilger, and Richard Falk. [Griffin/ForeignPolicyJournal/22June2010]
EVENTS IN COMING TWO MONTHS....
MANY Spy Museum Events in August with full details are listed on the AFIO Website at www.afio.com. The titles for some of these are as follows:
June 2010 -
Great Lakes, IL - The Midwest Chapter of AFIO will host its annual
conference at the Great Lakes Naval Station. The
will include a full days worth of speakers on Friday the 25th.
the 26th will include a day trip to Waukesha, WI to tour the Cold War
Museum and former Nike Missile Site, and then lunch at the Safe House,
spy themed museum in Milwaukee, WI. Saturday's return trip will
dinner and a speaker. On Sunday 27 June there will be a trip to the
Cantigny First Division Museum (Wheaton, IL) for a museum tour and
your own meal picnic.
Registration is $10 per person. Hotel reservations can be made by calling the Navy Lodge at 1-847-689-1485 for 24-27 June. Room rate is $65 per night total (no tax). Hotel reservations should be made no later than 7 June 2010. Please remember to mention that you are with the Midwest AFIO Chapter. For more information and to confirm your attendance, please contact Angelo Di Liberti ASAP at 847-931-4184. Also state whether you plan to attend the trip to Cantigny as we will need to contact the Museum curator with a final head count.
July 2010, 1000 - 1430 - Salem, MA - The AFIO New England Chapter meets
to conduct business and hear Douglas Wheeler on "Writing a History of
Spying" and John Behling, Jr. on "Origins of Islamic Extremism."
Our afternoon speaker will be Chapter Member John Behling Jr . John is a veteran of the OSS. He will speak on "Origins of Islamic Extremism" The morning speaker is Douglas L. Wheeler, who will discuss 'Writing a History of Spying-author's dilemma?', Doug is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire where he taught African, Iberian & European, World and Intelligence Studies History at the University of New Hampshire, 1965-2002 and since then has taught there part-time. Schedule: Registration & gathering, 1000 - 1130, membership meeting 1130 - 1200. Luncheon at 1200 followed by our speaker, with adjournment at 2:30PM.
Location: the Salem Waterfront Hotel located in Salem MA. The hotel website is: http://www.salemwaterfronthotel.com/. For directions to the hotel look here: http://www.salemwaterfronthotel.com/location.html Information about Salem MA and local hotels can be found here: http://salem.org/
Note, as this meeting is a one day event we have not made any hotel arrangements. For additional information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advance reservations are $25.00, $30.00 at the door - per person. Luncheon reservations must be made by 1 July 2010. Mail your check and the reservation form to:
Mr. Arthur Hulnick, 216 Summit Avenue # E102, Brookline, MA 02446, 617-739-7074 or email@example.com
Thursday, 15 July 2010, 11:30 am - Colorado Springs, CO - The Rocky Mountain Chapter hears Tim Murphy on R&D Platform Usage in Intelligence. The Chapter presents an expert on Special Ops whose firm is doing an R&D intelligence platform for the Intelligence community. Retired Air Force Col. Tim Murphy who is also a graduate of the Air Force Academy. To be held at a new location the AFA Eisenhower Golf Course Club House. Please RSVP to Tom VanWormer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010, 10 am - 12:45 pm - Annapolis Junction, MD - "The Mysterious Rosetta Stone: A Code-Cracking International Treasure" with Dr. Joel Freeman, is topic at the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation Summer Cryptologic meeting.
All AFIO members are invited to hear our guest speaker, Dr.
Joel Freeman, CEO and President of the Freeman Institute,
discuss the history of the Rosetta Stone, focusing on the historical
connection between the Rosetta Stone and the breaking of codes. Guests
will have an opportunity to view the full-sized, three-dimensional
Rosetta Stone replica normally on display in the lobby of the National
Cryptologic Museum. Dr. Freeman is an gifted speaker and author. As part
of the program there will be a brief presentation to acknowledge the
Milt Zaslow Memorial Award for Cryptology that was presented for the
first time at this year's Maryland History Day Ceremony on 24 April.
Location: the L3 Conference Center in the National Business Park. Lunch will be served at 11:45 following the presentation. L3 Conference Center is located at 2720 Technology Dr, Annapolis Junction, MD 21076 in the Rt. 32 National Business Park.
Cost: the fee is $25 to cover program & lunch costs.
Confirm your attendance by Wednesday, 14 July, by calling (301) 688-5436 to pay by credit card or by mailing a check to NCMF, POB 1682, Ft. Meade, MD 20755. We look forward to seeing you there.
22 July 2010 – San Francisco, CA – The AFIO Jim Quesada Chapter hosts John Yoo, former deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on national security and terrorism after the September 11 attacks.
John Yoo is currently a professor of law at UC Berkeley. Yoo will be discussing his new book, Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush. RSVP and pre-payment required. The meeting will be held in San Francisco: 11:30 AM no host cocktails; noon - luncheon. $25 member rate with advance reservation and payment; $35 non-member. E-mail RSVP to Mariko Kawaguchi (please indicate chicken or fish): email@example.com and mail check made out to "AFIO" to: Mariko Kawaguchi, P.O. Box 117578 Burlingame, CA 94011
Saturday, 31 July 2010, 10 am - 12 noon - Coral Gables,
FL - AFIO/Miami Police Department Counter-Terrorism Training. In cooperation with the City of Miami Police Dept, Office of Emergency
Management & Homeland Security, Officer Marcos T. Perez, AFIO will
be presenting a Counter-Terrorism Training and Program. "Operation Miami
Shield." There is limited space available for this program.
Please RSVP with checks enclosed before July 21, 2010. There is a $10 charge for AFIO Members. Guests will be charged at $25 per person. Checks payable to "AFIO" and mailed to Tom Spencer at 999 Ponce de Leon Blvd Ste 510, Coral Gables, FL 33134
HOLD THE DATE - 17 - 20 August 2010 - Cleveland, OH - AFIO National Symposium on the Great Lakes - "Intelligence and National Security on the Great Lakes"
Co-Hosted with the AFIO Northern Ohio Chapter at the Crowne Plaza
Hotel, Cleveland, OH. Includes presentations by U.S. Coast Guard on
Great Lakes security; Canadian counterparts to explain double-border
National Air/Space Intelligence Center; Air Force Technical
Applications Center; Ohio Aerospace Institute.
Cruise on Lake Erie
Spies-in-Black-Ties Dinner and Cruise on Lake Erie. Online Reservations to be taken here, shortly.
29-30 September 2010 - Washington, DC - Conference on the American Experience in Southeast Asia, 1946-1975 by the U.S. Department of State.
The U.S. Department of State's Office of the Historian is pleased to
invite AFIO members to a conference on the American Experience in
Southeast Asia, 1946-1975, which will be held in the George C. Marshall
Conference Center at the State Dept. The conference will feature a
number of key Department of State personnel, both past and present.
Those speaking will include:
* Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger
* Former Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte
* Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard A. Holbrooke
The conference will include a panel composed of key print and television media personnel from the Vietnam period discussing the impact of the press on public opinion and United States policy. A number of scholarly panels featuring thought-provoking works by leading scholars will also take place. Registration information will be available at the State Dept website, http://history.state.gov, after August 1.
6 - 7 October 2011 - Laurel, MD - The NSA's Center for Cryptologic History hosts their Biennial Cryptologic History Symposium with theme: Cryptology in War and Peace: Crisis Points in History.
Historians from the Center, the Intelligence Community, the defense
establishment, and the military services, as well as distinguished
scholars from American and foreign academic institutions, veterans of
the profession, and the interested public all will gather for two days
of reflection and debate on topics from the cryptologic past. The
for the upcoming conference will be: “Cryptology in War and Peace:
Crisis Points in History.” This topical approach is especially
as the year 2011 is an important anniversary marking the start of many
seminal events in our nation’s military history. The events that can
commemorated are many.
Such historical episodes include the 1861 outbreak of the fratricidal Civil War between North and South. Nineteen forty-one saw a surprise attack wrench America into the Second World War. The year 1951 began with the fall of Seoul to Chinese Communist forces with United Nations troops retreating in the Korean War. In 1961, the United States began a commitment of advisory troops in Southeast Asia that would eventually escalate into the Vietnam War; that year also marked the height of the Cold War as epitomized by the physical division of Berlin. Twenty years later, a nascent democratic movement was suppressed by a declaration of martial law in Poland; bipolar confrontation would markedly resurge for much of the 1980s. In 1991, the United States intervened in the Persian Gulf to reverse Saddam Hussein’s aggression, all while the Soviet Union suffered through the throes of its final collapse. And in 2001, the nation came under siege by radical terrorism.
Participants will delve into the roles of signals intelligence and information assurance, and not just as these capabilities supported military operations. More cogently, observers will examine how these factors affected and shaped military tactics, operations, strategy, planning, and command and control throughout history. The role of cryptology in preventing conflict and supporting peaceful pursuits will also be examined. The panels will include presentations in a range of technological, operational, organizational, counterintelligence, policy, and international themes.
Past symposia have featured scholarship that set out new ways to consider out cryptologic heritage, and this one will be no exception. The mix of practitioners, scholars, and the public precipitates a lively debate that promotes an enhanced appreciation for the context of past events. Researchers on traditional and technological cryptologic topics, those whose work in any aspect touches upon the historical aspects of cryptology as defined in its broadest sense, as well as foreign scholars working in this field, are especially encouraged to participate.
The Symposium will be held at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s Kossiakoff Center, in Laurel, Maryland, a location central to the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas. As has been the case with previous symposia, the conference will provide unparalleled opportunities for interaction with leading historians and distinguished experts. So please make plans to join us for either one or both days of this intellectually stimulating conference.
Interested persons are invited to submit proposals for a potential presentation or even for a full panel. While the topics can relate to this year’s theme, all serious work on any aspect of cryptologic history will be considered. Proposals should include an abstract for each paper and/or a statement of session purpose for each panel, as well as biographical sketches for each presenter. To submit proposals or form more information on this conference, contact Dr. Kent Sieg, the Center’s Symposium Executive Director, at 301-688-2336 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Additional Events two+ months or greater....view our online Calendar of Events
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